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Department of Neurology
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz Medical Center
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MS Memory Lapses Have Me Talking to Myself

By Trevis Gleason

Trevis Gleason's conversations with his dog help with MS memory lapses.I was having a deep conversation with Sadie the other day. We were talking about the big things in life: philosophy, one’s place in the world, climate change, the merits of lamb bones over beef. For those who don’t know, Sadie is not my wife — she’s my dog.

I talk to Sadie (pictured above) a lot. Perhaps it might be a cover for how much I actually talk to myself. That said, I’m not one who looks down on the practice. Quite the contrary, I find talking to myself quite helpful.

Saying It Out Loud Helps Me Remember

Saying it out loud helps me to remember what I’m supposed to be doing next. It creates a list that I’ve not only thought of, but said aloud and then heard. Three times thinking about something has got to help me remember it better than thinking about it once.

I take notes in the shower using a bar of soap on the shower doors. I make up silly little songs to remind me of things. I chat with Sadie and her sister, Maggie, while we walk, and I talk to the birds that I feed in the garden as I’m hanging the laundry to dry. Hell, I even talk to the plants in the garden.

The sudsy scrawling often helps me remember blog topics I want to write about. The dogs and I talk about what we might need from the shops for dinner. The chats with the birds keep me on track when it comes to the washing. The plants — well, we plan what the flower and vegetable beds are going to look like this year.

Go Ahead. Answer Back.

There’s an old saying that it’s all right to talk to yourself as long as you don’t answer back. Bollocks, I say! When I answer back, I’m making decisions between one thing and another, I’m weighing my options, and I’m doing it in a way that I’ll remember later.

You see, this past year I’ve noticed more multiple sclerosis (MS)-related issues with my memory, and I want to make sure that I’m giving myself a fighting chance to do the things that I still can do. But I can’t do them if I forget that I was planning (or how I was planning, or when I intended) to do them in the first place.

There’s something about talking to “myself” in public that I can’t seem to get past; in the house, it’s fine. Talking to the dogs, or the birds, or the plants, or the cattle and sheep in the fields nearby allows me to keep up the conversation with myself without looking like the crazy old man in the tweed jacket, cloth cap, and walking stick talking to himself. For now, I’m just that crazy old man talking to his dogs.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by EVERYDAYHEALTH
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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